Clowning around

IssueApril 2012
Feature by Maria Eva Russo

While researching strategies of engagement ‘designed to generate individual and social change’, I came across the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA). A ‘bigshoe camp’ (recruitment workshop) was on the horizon. What a great opportunity for a researcher to ‘go native’!

It was an exciting morning at the Buddhist Centre in Bethnal Green. There were 25 officers-to-be, all with the ‘aura of gusto’.

Corporeal Calon, Trwper Twp and Capten Cyboli, our clown masters, welcomed us with a physical game that has engraved everyone’s names in all of our minds forever.

What followed was a range of physical and verbal explorations to contact our inner clowns and unleash the imagination. As the afternoon went on, our clowns started to emerge and our real personalities were revealed.

After every activity we gathered to evaluate the experience, allowing the group to become one in genuine moments of trust.

The clown journey brought together folks who care for change and who want to explore new creative ways of action.

The clown and the activist both need to be aware of what surrounds them and to be able to react in the ‘here and now’.

That’s why many of the games served as dynamic tools to understand and communicate codes of action as well as to give emotional support and a sense of camaraderie.

Irony, subversive play, civil disobedience, marching and gaggle manoeuvres are very important items of the Clown Army toolkit. The more often they can be used, the more effective they are.

The bigshoe camp finale was rather touching. It was almost a sacred moment of being ‘baptised’ where all newborn clown-officers were welcomed into the clown militia with a red nose, a new name and hugs.

However, the most significant moment of realisation while experiencing all of this was that we are not lonely fools, we are an army of them!

The Peace News clown training took place in London on 3-4 March. One person came all the way from Denmark just to take part!